NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Male November 17 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. This will be his first visit to the Maldives since assuming office.
Relations between the nations had nosedived during the regime of outgoing President Abdulla Yameen, who repeatedly snubbed India and wooed Chinese investment and support.
The growing Chinese influence in the country barely 700 km from India's southern tip caused much consternation in New Delhi, which but despite opposition appeals for greater involvement, it preferred to wait and watch.
The relations deteriorated further after Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 this year, and launched a crackdown on opposition leaders and judiciary. But apart from calling for the restoration of democracy, New Delhi refused the Maldivian opposition's calls for greater involvement.
Yameen lifted the emergency after 45 days, and Presidential elections were held on September 23 in which joint opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih defeated Yameen, capping months of political upheaval in the tiny archipelago nation.
While noting that Prime Minister Modi had accepted Solih's invitation to attend the ceremony "with pleasure," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar clarified that this was not a bilateral visit and that Modi would return the same day to Delhi.
"In keeping with its neighbourhood first policy, India looks forward to closely working with the Maldives in further deepening the partnership," he said.